Anna Quindlen is the bestselling author of four novels ("Blessings," "Black and Blue," "One True Thing," and "Object Lessons") and four nonfiction books ("A Short Guide to a Happy Life," "Living Out Loud," "Thinking Out Loud," and "How Reading Changed My Life"). She has also written two children's books ("The Tree That Came to Stay" and "Happily Ever After"). Her "New York Times" column, "Public and Private," won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Her column now appears every other week in "Newsweek."
When someone leaves an infant on your doorstep, you can't keep it. So when Skip Cuddy, handyman for the Blessing family estate, schemes to raise the foundling abandoned outside the Blessing garage, the listener fears this ad hoc family will unravel. And, of course, it does-but not until the baby entwines Skip's life with that of Lydia Blessing, matriarch of the faded homestead known as Blessings. Abetting Skip in fathering the baby, elderly Lydia reopens her heart and retraces her life, a haunting journey of loss and postponement. This best-selling, fourth adult novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Newsweek columnist is amplified by actress Joan Allen's reading, which jumps seamlessly from youth to senior and male to female. The sturdy library edition can be circulated within the illustrated case depicting the lonely white mansion, serving as a "place capsule" to transport the listener into this lush and decaying scene. Highly recommended.-Judith Robinson, Univ. at Buffalo, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Venturing into fictional territory far from the blue-collar neighborhoods of Black and Blue and other works, Quindlen's immensely appealing new novel is a study in social contrasts and of characters whose differences are redeemed by the transformative power of love. The eponymous Blessings is a stately house now gone to seed, inhabited by Mrs. Blessing, an 80-year-old wealthy semirecluse with an acerbic tongue and a reputation for hanging on to every nickel. Widowed during WWII, Lydia Blessing was banished to her socially prominent family's country estate for reasons that are revealed only gradually. Austere, unbending and joyless, Lydia has no idea, when she hires young Skip Cuddy as her handyman, how her life and his are about to change. Skip had promise once, but bad companions and an absence of parental guidance have led to a stint in the county jail. When Skip stumbles upon a newborn baby girl who's been abandoned at Blessings, he suddenly has a purpose in life. With tender devotion, he cares secretly for the baby for four months, in the process forming a bond with Mrs. Blessing, who discovers and admires his clandestine parenting skills. A double betrayal destroys their idyll. As usual, Quindlen's fine-tuned ear for the class distinctions of speech results in convincing dialogue. Evoking a bygone patrician world, she endows Blessings with an almost magical aura. While it skirts sentimentality by a hairbreadth, the narrative is old-fashioned in a positive way, telling a dramatic story through characters who develop and change, and testifying to the triumph of human decency when love is permitted to grow and flourish. (Sept. 24) Forecast: Count on this feel-good novel, a book that will appeal to the entire family, to ring up bestseller sales as a perfect Christmas gift. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"A polished gem of a novel . . . lovingly crafted, beautifully written."
--"The Miami Herald
""A WELL-TOLD STORY OF LOVE AND REDEMPTION."
--"The Washington Post Book World
""[A] RICHLY IMAGINED NOVEL OF THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF LOVE."
--"St. Louis Post-Dispatch
""EARNEST, DETAILED, AND COMFORTING . . . [Quindlen] delivers . . . on the promise of her title."
--"Los Angeles Times
""Anna Quindlen is America's Resident Sane Person. She has what Joyce called the common touch, the ability to speak to many people about what's on their minds before they have the vaguest idea what's on their minds."
--"The New York Times
""A well-told story of love and redemption, one that is not based on the passion of a man for a woman but on the affection and understanding that develops between people of very different backgrounds who are brought together by a baby named Faith and a house called Blessings."
--"The Washington Post Book World
""Quindlen . . . is as concerned with the evolution of her characters as she is with the resolution of their story. . . . Quindlen's moving and gently humorous depiction of her characters' transformation is thoroughly persuasive. . . . [Her] immense sympathy for her characters remains intact, but her fidelity to certain truths is paramount."
--"The New York Times Book Review
""[Quindlen] treats her protagonists and their hardships with such tenderness it's impossible not to grow fond of them."
"IMMENSELY APPEALING . . .
Quindlen's fine-tuned ear for the class distinctions of speech results in convincing dialogue. Evoking a bygone patrician world, she endows Blessings with an almost magical aura. . . . The narrative is old-fashioned in a positive way, telling a dramatic story through characters who develop and change, and testifying to the triumph of human decency when love is permitted to grow and flourish. . . . [A] feel-good novel, a book that